Care of Person

Polishing Shoes

Material Description:

A pair of child’s shoes.  In a basket or tray, covered in an oil cloth have a soft applicator brush to apply the polish – it should either have only a few bristles or remove some of the bristles so that only a small amount of polish is used, a medium brush to remove the excess polish and a buffer brush.  Have a working mat, spare cloth for cleaning up polish, apiece of paper to cover the floor and a special oil cloth and plastic apron, used only to polish shoes.  Have at least four sets for black, brown, neutral and canvas shoes each set should be colour coded, with painted handles to match the colour of polish.




Shoes need to be cleaned before they can be polished



  • Put on the special apron
  • Go with the child to unroll the working mat and unfold the paper directly under it, in the middle
  • Put the oil cloth on the right top edge of the newspaper, on the working mat, tucking it under the newspaper
  • Remove the materials from the tray in order of use and naming them; first the applicator brush, polish, medium brush and lastly the buffer are put from left to right on the oil cloth
  • Go with the child to collect the shoes from the cloakroom, preferably hers or borrowed with the owner’s permission
  • Put both shoes on the paper, check for dirt (the shoes should have already been cleaned, so they should not be dirty)
  • Ask the child to remove the laces
  • Open the tin of polish and dab the applicator brush in the polish to remove a small amount.
  • Put the brush on the oil cloth and replace the polish tin’s lid
  • Begin with the left shoe, nearest to the child
  • Put the left hand inside the shoe to steady it, changing the position of the shoe only if necessary
  • Hold the applicator brush in the right hand and brush from sole to opening in a clockwise direction around the shoe, starting at the back
  • Replace the applicator brush and chat for a while giving the polish time to dry
  • Point out that the shoe looks dull
  • Use the medium brush to remove excess polish rubbing the sides and top of the shoe at medium speeds replace the brush
  • Take the buffer and quickly rub the sides and top of the shoe
  • Notice that the shoe now shines
  • Put the shoe to the right


  • Encourage the child to polish the other shoe with the same movements polish the other shoe


  • When the child has finished put both shoes together, left, then right
  • Ask her to replace the laces
  • Bin the used paper and replace it


  • Replace the material on the shelf and put the shoes back into the cloakroom
  • Ask her to wash her hands



Points of Interest:

  • After applying the polish the shoes should be evenly dull
  • Not too much or too little polish
  • The shoe shines at the end
  • Direction of the different brushes
  • Smell of polish
  • Overlapping the mats




  • Co-ordination of Movement
  • Independence
  • Concentration
  • Social Adaptation



Age at Presentation:

Three and a half years, after the child can lace




  • If the shoes have removable buckles remove them before polishing and replace
  • Never lift the shoe from the paper
  • If cream is to be used keep a spatula with an indication mark with the set
  • Ask the owner’s permission before removing the shoe from the cloakroom
  • For canvas shoes give a separate presentation
  • The child must be able to open the polish tin by herself, it may need adjusting

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